When it comes to cutting-edge technology, Lafayette has been at the forefront of the state and region for some time — and is now making a name for itself on the national scene. Just recently, Lafayette jumped 10 spots to No. 14 out of 200 large cities and 124 small cities on the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities list. The ranking is weighted heavily for job and income growth, especially in the technology sector. The city’s recognition is largely based on showcase projects such as the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise and Lafayette Utilities System’s fiber-to-the-home initiative.
But LCG’s ultimate goal is to make Lafayette one of the top technology centers in the country, and there will be concrete measures of its success, namely assessment instruments like the Center for Digital Government’s Digital Cities Survey and Best of the Web Survey. The center is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government; its extensive surveys provide a valuable baseline tool for cities to not only gauge themselves against other cities, but also to evaluate their own year-by year-progress. “More importantly,” says Keith Thibodeaux, LCG's chief information officer, “they prevent you from having your viewpoint trapped within your own microcosm. It forces you to honestly view yourself within the context of the outside world.”
By next year, Thibodeaux hopes to guide LCG onto the center’s Top 10 list in both of these competitions. “If we can accomplish that, then we know we’ve done our job,” he says.